The Green Wave Breaks the Information Blockade

By Al Giordano

After Iran's longest weekend, when authorities of the regime tried to stop the flow of information out of, into, and within Iran - they blocked YouTube, Facebook and independent media websites, shut down cell phone service, shut down land line telephones, caused hours-long denial of any Internet service at all, ordered the closing of Al-Aribya TV's Tehran offices, arrested a BBC reporter, seized cameras, computers and drive sticks from citizens, sent police door to door to private homes and university dorms search for and seize SAT satellite transmitters and other communications equipment... - the sheer volume of people struggling to spread the word has overwhelmed the would-be censors under a green wave.

Todays massive demonstrations in Tehran and other cities in response to the regime's claim that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the Friday vote for president has been reported to join as many as three million Iranians in the capital city alone. As the Sky News video above makes clear: every one of those peaceful demonstrators is committing civil disobedience in defiance of a government ban on public protests. The marches have been reported by Iranian state television and by the major worldwide news networks from BBC to CNN.

Tomorrow, a general strike.

This dramatic turn of events pretty much guarantees that the struggle will go on and escalate, probably for weeks to come. It's a wonderful scene to behold from wherever you sit or stand on this earth. The seismic events in Iran are front page news throughout most of the world: I can personally testify to the headlines in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Mexico City over the past 24 hours.

Iran's Green Revolution is reminiscent of the Orange Revolution that took place in Ukraine in late 2004, when an October 31 electoral fraud sparked mounting protests and a peaceful occupation of many blocks surrounding the national palace, causing the national elections council to, five weeks later, call for a do-over of the vote. The opposition won that second vote on December 26 of that year.

From this observation post, the most important battle has already been won in Iran: the struggle to keep communications open and relatively free. Everything else stems from that. And, if successfully maintained, it makes the eventual toppling of the current regime something close to inevitable.

While there are differences, of course, between the 2004 events in Ukraine and the 2009 tumult in Iran, I think a similar timeline of five to ten weeks is a reasonably likely calendar for how these current events are going to play out. Look, listen, learn, pay attention, study what the people do and how they struggle. History knocks again.

Comments

Another great post

Thanks for noting what an achievement it is for such a display of public will.  As was nauseatingly demonstrated over the weekend, every demonstrator risked life and limb to attend.  The inability of the government to shut down communications among the people is staggering.  

You are probably right as to the eventual outcome--once the fear is gone, what does this regime have to sustain its power?

Would you care to comment on what impact these events are having in places like Pakistan, which is under seige by the Taliban and Al Qaeda?  What will the extremists think of these powerful images of the people of Iran throwing off their fundamentalist masters?

Thank you, Al

I know you hear this a great deal, but perhaps not enough. Your work at underlining the core of this movement in Iran, and pointing out the parallels, is critical -- so few out there have the background on these issues to speak to them with any intelligence, esp with the near-supline coverage of the television-based mass media.

Thank you for all your reporting on this.

"...the most important battle..."

As Al says above, open communications are still happening in Iran, and in times gone by we'd never know about most of what's happening there.  Saw a report recently where most Chinese, especially younger ones, never heard about the famous "Tank Man" in Tiananmen Square.  Never happened as far as they knew. Right in their own country.

Right before our eyes, we're seeing the extreme value in diverse sources of "news," and The Field and Authentic Journalism are perfect examples of what the new paradigm can offer.

Let's all do our part in helping preserve this by clicking the "Make a Donation" in the upper right of this screen.  You can even sign up for an automatic monthly donation.  Let's see...$20/month is about 65 cents/day.  Is the reporting and commentary here worth 65 cents per day (or more) to you?

Is Iran trying to tamp it down?

As Al's last post highlighted, the powers that be in Iran could try to tamp down protests by saying that they will investigate any electoral fraud.  Which, as of today, it appears they are saying:

 

"State TV quoted Khamenei as ordering the Guardian Council to "carefully probe" the allegations of fraud, which were contained in a letter Mousavi submitted Sunday.

On Saturday, however, Khamenei urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad and called the result a "divine assessment.""

 

This development makes Al's point about the illegitimacy of the regime - not just the election - all the more important, and one that we should spread to others.

this has been wonderful to watch

thank goodness for the internet. it has been the way to connect us all.

I've been amazed...

Just go on twitter and search #iranelection, and before you finish reading the first 10 tweets (max 140 characters each) and there's already 50 waiting for you to refresh.  Sometimes over a hundred.

It's simply mind boggling the speed and flood of information being shoved out of the country by people.  If you are following that twitter feed, it's like watching a live event.  You're there.  I always thought twitter seemed interesting, a cool little social experiment, a "mass-text messager".  But, wow -- I just can't get over it.

Also...this is the first time I've seen this situation be compared to the Orange Revolution -- and the second I read it I felt shocked that I hadn't seen that comparison before (and ashamed I didn't think of it...but I wasn't into news/politics back then, I'm a rookie!).  I'm curious if others will start to make this connection.

twitter down for 90mins

hey all

twitter is going down for 90mins of time for maintainence at 9.15am tehran time. people there are a bit worried/annoyed at this timing. I suppose if it is Essential then fine, however otherwise they want people to get in touch with twitter to complain as otherwise it is censorship of their vital source at this time. 

celia

They want change

The bravery of all those people makes the heart soar. And the power of this video just about brought my day to a halt. The hunger for change is palpable. I remember not all that long ago someone saying:

We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

I think that guy was onto something.

Finally, say what you will about Andrew Sullivan, but he's been able to get at the beating heart of this uprising in a dramatic, compelling, and uninterrupted series of posts over the past few days that makes our "legitimate" media seem supine, sluggish, and irrelevant all at once.

twitter

here is an epetition for twitter. sign and post on. 

Ukraine

Key to the successful protests in Ukraine was (a) a lot of advance planning with support from people involved in the recent successful demonstrations in Serbia, (b) the fact that the important figures in the Ukrainian secret service refused to support a crackdown and in fact threatened to use its undercover agents in Kiev to video tape any violant attacks on the protesters, (c) the fact that parts of the Ukrainian military disobeyed orders.  I'm not sure that any of this is likely in Iran.  Then again, I'm not sure that I would have thought it was likley in Ukraine before it happened . . . 

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About Al Giordano

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Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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